What is a Golf Fade? (2022 Update)

Let’s face it, many amateurs and even pro golfers struggle with the slice at different points of their careers. However, we all know that a few tweaks can help you turn what has become a golfer’s nightmare into a strong, power fade. Apart from its popularity among many top golfers, there are many other incentives to learn the shot as well.

Golfers who struggle with a slice or desire consistent shot patterns can turn to the power fade to help lower their score.

So, what is a golf fade? A fade shot is a golf term used to describe the slight curve of the golf ball to the left or right (depending on a player’s dominant hand) during the ball’s flight. The curve here is pretty gentle, similar to a curveball in baseball. The shot begins by looking like it won’t reach your target, but in the end, it does. Just like golf draws, fade shots are mostly intentional.

However, fade shots require that you do the direct opposite of what you’ll do in a draw. Although it feels very odd, many golfers often find a fade to be their natural shot. If it’s not natural for you, you can learn it. Most of this article would focus on explaining practical steps you can adopt to learn how to play a golf fade.

How to Hit a Fade With a Driver or Iron

As explained above, fade shots come naturally for many people. Unfortunately, not everybody would achieve this, as many players would hit a big slice or a quick hook in the process. However, the good news is that you can learn to achieve a fade with consistent practice. Here, let’s review a few fundamental tips that you leverage to achieve a fade. These steps apply to both irons and drivers.

Check your grip

An excellent place to begin your practice is from your grip. It goes without saying that grip is crucial in every shot. Even if you get the other steps but fail to get a good grip, it could hinder you from getting the golf shot you want.

The first step to getting a good grip for a fade shot is getting a slightly weaker grip than usual. To achieve this, you must keep your top hand (left for right-handed players) rotated in a slightly counterclockwise position. This would show you two knuckles on your top hand instead of the usual three at the address. If you struggle to return the club to square at impact, it means that your top hand rotation is probably too weak. Another way to achieve this is by holding your club a little more in your top hand’s palm versus your fingers.

Also, try to rotate your bottom hand a little in the same direction as your top hand. Bear in mind that going too far with your bottom hand towards the top of your club would open your club, causing you to hit a slice. We typically recommend trying this during practice sessions so that you can get enough time to experiment with subtle changes in your grip.

Mind your stance

If done correctly, there’s perhaps nothing as effective as aiming down the left half of a green or the left side of the fairway while fading the golf ball to your target without losing control at any point. As usual, the best posture to hit a straight shot is to keep your feet parallel to the target line. You can maintain the same posture to hit a fade. Just ensure that your aim is slightly left of your intended target so that the fade can have a slightly right or left shot shape.

Open the clubface

While we’ve heard so many top golfers like Lee Trevino and Jack Nicklaus confess to slightly opening their clubface to hit a fade, it’s important to note that it’s not entirely necessary. There’s also a possibility of fading the ball with your swing path. With this clear, many golfers would prefer opening the clubface over altering their swing path.

In case you feel more comfortable opening your clubface, attempt slightly rotating the club’s toe slightly away from the ball at address. Irrespective of how little the open face is, it’ll still be enough to add some curve to the flight. However, you need to be cautious about how you open the clubface, considering opening it by more degree would cause the ball to start to the right (for right-handed golfers) of your target line even more and curve right of your target line. We recommend aiming left of your target when attempting to hit a fade.

Swing left

Golfers who are uncomfortable opening the clubface can always fashion their swings slightly across the target line. Remember that what’s most important is your swing part. To achieve a fade shot, it’s crucial to have a slight outside-to-in motion. This would mean that your club would be moving left (for right-handed golfers) while hitting the ball at impact. Again, it’s essential to be cautious because cutting the clubhead across the ball from far outside can cause a slice. You need a few degrees outside-to-in attack on the ball for an effective fade.

If that’s not clear enough, you can look towards adjusting your swing positions, so the top and finish are rightly set. At the top, you want your hands to go higher than your trail shoulder. At the finish, you want to keep your hands low and left.

While it’s vital to find the balance with the clubface, your stance, and swing path, experimentations like these combine to make golf the fun game it is. It’s not unusual to see amateur golfers opening their stance too much, hitting very large slices, or swinging very steep shots. However, these steps can help you get over the frustrating feel of getting your shot wrongly every time you try to get better.

Use swing align to practice fade shots

One of the best tips for people struggling to develop consistent shot patterns or who need a tool that can help them get instant feedback is to use the Swing Align trainer. This tool does not just provide feedback; it also takes you on a step-by-step journey on how you can adequately align yourself and get the best position for a controlled swing. Irrespective of your shot shape, it’s essential to control your swing with your body instead of your hands.

The Swing Align Bundle helps you practice how you can align yourself a little to the left of your target so that you can hit a fade. It also enables you to understand how to position your feet to not stay too open to cause a slice.

Why You Should Learn To Hit a Fade

We’ve talked so much about fade shots and how they can impact your overall gameplay. However, the whole process involved in learning this kind of shot may have you wondering whether it’s worth it. If you’ve ever had reasons to wonder, here are some of the appealing benefits of a golf fade.

It gives you control of the ball

Perhaps the most obvious benefit of a fade shot is the maximum control that it offers. If you have any experience playing golf, you’ll know how uneasy controlling your ball can be as you make your way around the course. But playing a fade provides some ease for you. The high rate of backspin that a fade is characterized by pushes the ball to fly high and settle quickly when it lands. Therefore, it’s not surprising that many golfers can easily control fade shots compared to draw shots. Of course, it’s such a great feeling to know that you have significant control over what happens to your golf ball when it hits the air. At least, it helps to reduce the possibilities of mistakes and take you closer to your target.

Easier access to front hole locations

Most golfers dread setting up short birdie puts in holes near the front of the green. Draw shots will likely offer you some forward bounce and roll on your approach shots. This forward movement makes stopping the ball in time a little difficult. On the other hand, fade shots help stop the ball more quickly, making it easier to score in front-hole locations.

Adds versatility to your game

Choosing a fade as your primary ball flight doesn’t necessarily mean that you won’t be able to play a draw once in a while. You just have to learn how it works during practice sessions, and you’ll be good to go. In fact, there’s a widespread belief that golf players who prefer to hit a fade can easily switch to draw shots when they need to. Knowing how to turn your ball in both directions would help you adapt to different courses with different hole layouts. It also enables you to maneuver hazard locations, so you’ll have a significant advantage when you want to try different competitions.

No significant distance difference between a fade and a draw

One interesting point that always comes up when golfers argue for draw shots is the significant amount of distance it brings to the ball from left to right. But this point doesn’t tell the whole story. Yes, draw shots allow golfers to cover a little more distance with their shots, but the difference is never as significant as many people claim. For example, if the extra distance that a draw shot would bring you is just a few yards, then it’s not worth it passing on all the benefits of a fade for a draw shot. In fact, there are cases where there’s no difference in distance whatsoever between a draw and a fade. Of course, draw shots have their benefits, and we are not forcing you to compulsorily learn fade shots. But, if the distance is your only concern, you can be assured that there’ll be no significant difference.

Fade vs. Slice: What’s The Difference?

While a fade shot and a slice may look similar as they move through the air, they are actually different. As explained above, a fade can help you make your way around the course. On the other hand, a slice can’t. If you’ve had to deal with a slice before, you’ll know that it disorganizes your game and makes it difficult for you to achieve your goals. Both a slice and a fade will curve from left to right in the air for right-handed golfers. Despite the similarities in these two kinds of shots, you’ll find that golf slices curve slightly more than golf fades. Most fades don’t curve more than a few yards in the air. However, there are exceptional situations where the golfer may master adding a little more distance to the ball. A golf slice creates the possibility for the ball to curve between 20 to 30 yards. It goes without saying that a slice is a shot that can’t be controlled. As a player, you can’t control the spin that the ball gets on impact. Therefore, the shot wildly curves as it flies through the air.

On the other hand, playing a fade is rather intentional. It is because you think that a fade would work best for the situation you are playing in. Your choice of fade shots can also be because of how naturally the left-to-right shots come to you.

Fade vs. Draw

We’ve also heard many golf enthusiasts ask about the difference between draw shots and fade shots. If you are wondering what the differences are. Here’s a brief explanation you should read.

Both the fade and draw golf shots are characterized by putting slight sidespin on your shots so that the ball’s movement can finish slightly off-center. In this case, both shots are achieved intentionally. The slight side-to-side movements that both shots offer can improve your overall gameplay.

However, the most significant difference between both shots is the ball’s direction laterally. Right-handed golfers can expect their draw shots to move slightly right to left. On the other hand, fade shots will travel from left to right.

Conclusion: What is a Fade in Golf?

That’s it – a detailed look at what a golf fade is and how to achieve it. The fade shot has several benefits, but you’ll need to hit it well to achieve the benefits. Fortunately, it’s something you can learn, irrespective of your playing style. We’ve reviewed some easy tips that will help you improve your fade shot in this article. However, we recommend learning this shot during your practice sessions as it allows you the liberty to try new things and adjust accordingly before playing in the range.